What is it?
Back in the mid-1990s Peugeot pioneered usable electrical power with vehicles based on the 106 and Berlingo.
A decade and half later, the company is back with the iOn, the French maker’s version of the Mitsubishi iMiEV.
While the firm is realistic about the potential of electric cars (estimating an EU market share of 4-5 per cent by 2020) it says it hopes to sell around 50,000 iOns by 2015.
What’s it like?
The iOn is a handy 3.4m long but rather narrower than a European supermini. Rear-wheel drive does contribute to a handy turning circle, however.
It’s powered by a rear-mounted 64bhp electric motor, while the 88-cell, 16kWh lithium ion battery pack is mounted under the centre of the vehicle.
The electric motor’s full torque delivery from standstill, and the lack of individual gear ratios, make for refined and civilised progress.
The iOn is also pretty stable and steers accurately enough, while there’s just enough performance to keep up with normal motorway traffic.It’s much more at home in town, though.
Peugeot is very honest about the iOn’s limitations. It takes six hours to charge from a domestic socket and will do 93 miles in free-flowing traffic with the air-con turned off.
However, a crowded city with the air-con blowing will reduce the range to around 46 miles.
Should I buy one?
The iOn is expensive and relatively cramped, which is probably why Peugeot says it is aimed mainly at “local government and car-sharing companies”.
In terms of private sales, though, it will only hold attraction for the most dedicated of environmentalists.
Price: £415 per month +VAT (four years); Top speed: 81mph; 0-62mph: 15.9sec; Economy: 93 miles on one charge; CO2: 0g/km at tailpipe; Kerb weight: 1120kg; Engine: Electric motor, 16kWh lithium ion battery pack; Power: 64bhp at 2500rpm; Torque: 133lb ft at 1900-2750rpm; Gearbox: Single-speed